Posted by: Ocean's Dream | March 16, 2009

Making a monster sprite from a sketch

OK, not exactly a tileset tutorial, but neither were the character maker ones. This idea came from Ceric.

I am using this sketch, provided by Skie Fortress.

First off, check to see what sizes would work with your game. Working with the 320×240 resolution for RM2k3 and the default side view battle system there is different than the 640×480 resolution and front view system for RMXP or the weird resolution that I don’t remember for RMVX.

When working from a sketch, keep in mind that a small sprite (particularly anything below 100×100) may not be able to have all the details that the sketch does. Nor is it necessary to replicate every line. It’s just a reference after all.

For my game, since it’s RM2k3 resolution and side view, I decided on these values. 32×32 pixels for tiny monsters, 48×48 for generally larger monsters, 32×64 for tall monsters, and 64×32 for wide monsters. You do not need to have it so rigid, but it can be a good guideline to start from. Since the monster is taller than it is wide, I was thinking 32×64. But it seemed like it wasn’t skinny enough to fit in there, so I made it 48×64.

I’ll use 48×64 to start. If I run out of space and shrinking it isn’t a good idea, then I will add a few pixels more. I try to add by multiples of 16, though something like 8 would be okay.


There are 2 methods you can use to start. Personally, I like going with step 2 and do a rough sketch, rather than going with step 1 and blocking out areas by color. I may do a combination of both if the sketch would get confusing.

When I sketched, I took note of the midway point in the actual sketch. The top seemed too big and the bottom too small, so I just adjusted and made the top part not go below the middle of the drawing area. At the start of the drawing, I use an existing palette and do not care if the colors even match or not, so long as I have enough colors to start with.

Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look good at first. It rarely does, and sometimes it’s only in the last parts where it starts looking good. I don’t really like how I did the face at the end, I think I should have gotten rid of those lines as well. I ignored the lines for the body because the sprite is too small for me to be able to put that much detail into it.



  1. Cool. I think the basic sketch is what I’ll end up doing over and over again before I’m happy with whatever it is I’m making.

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